Lazio won the Derby della Capitale 3-2 under driving rain after overturning Roma’s advantage with Daniele De Rossi and Stefano Mauri sent off.
The Rome Derby is always a huge occasion, but never has it been more of an enticing game for the neutral spectator, as only two points separated the sides that have played thrilling football under their new Coaches. Zdenek Zeman’s Roma seem to have found their feet recently, although Mattia Destro was suspended, Bogdan Lobont and Maarten Stekelenburg injured. Daniele De Rossi was finally used as a central midfielder after months of controversy. Lazio are strong at home under Vladimir Petkovic, but fresh from a 4-0 drubbing in Catania and Ederson was still sidelined. Miroslav Klose returned from suspension.
The Lazio choreography was all for Gabriele Sandri, the fan and DJ who was killed five years ago by a stray police bullet. There was some trouble outside the stadium before kick-off with one Roma fan stabbed.
Play had to be halted for a few minutes after one of the floodlights failed, as Rome was under a rainstorm.
When it did resume, Roma lit up and Lazio saw the dark tunnel, as Erik Lamela turned in a corner with his diving header at the back post.
Hernanes and Francesco Totti tested the goalkeepers from distance, but the rain intensified to such a degree that visibility was even difficult under floodlights. Crucially, the pitch also became waterlogged and large puddles built up.
Mauro Goicoechea got down to palm a Klose header round the post, although he had been flagged offside anyway. An Alvaro Gonzalez snapshot was deflected wide, as was Abdoullay Konko’s header.
Lazio equalised on 35 minutes with an Antonio Candreva screamer of a free kick that slipped through Goicoechea’s hands in the awfully wet weather.
Klose blasted just over the bar at the end of a rapid Candreva counter-attack. The German veteran did get his goal before half-time, as a Hernanes shot was slowed down in a puddle and turned into an assist for Klose to get between two defenders and prod home from six yards.
It got even worse for Roma in first half stoppages, as De Rossi was tussling with Stefano Mauri as they waited for a set piece to come in and swung out a fist to hit him in the face. It was an inevitable red card.
The second half didn’t start well for the Giallorossi either, as Ivan Piris headed straight to Mauri just outside the box and it was easy to fire in undisturbed.
Goicoechea stuck out a hand to beat away a Hernanes shot that changed direction when deflected off Nicolas Burdisso’s back.
Osvaldo almost got one back for 10-man Roma, but his free header from a corner was off target at the back post. Goicoechea pushed a Hernanes snapshot round the upright, but both sides ended the game with 10 men, as Mauri received a second yellow for a handling offence.
It still wasn’t over, as Miralem Pjanic got a goal back with a very long free kick from midfield that surprised Marchetti under the bar, having spotted the goalkeeper off his line.
The Giallorossi nearly equalised in stoppages, as Marquinho and Osvaldo got in each others’ way to fire an inspired Michael Bradley crossfield pass on to the side-netting.
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Sent off: De Rossi 45 (R), Mauri 85 (L)